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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  November 24, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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11/24/14 11/24/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> america's combat mission will be over by the end of this year. starting next year, afghans will be fully responsible for securing their country. i think americans have learned it is harder to end wars than ie choice for century. >> that was president obama five months ago. now the president has signed a classified order giving u.s. military commanders a wider role to fight in afghanistan beyond this year. when will america's longest war ever end? we will go to kabul to speak with the peace activist and physician dr. hakim and to kathy kelly of voices for creative
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nonviolence. she is just back from afghanistan. in another louisiana court has ruled albert woodfox of the angola 3 should be free. enough,cause is noble you can carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. i thought my cause, then and now, was noble. therefore, [indiscernible] bit,might bend a little they may even take my life, but they would never be able to break me. former black panther albert woodfox has been more than 40 years in solitary confinement. will he finally be released? we will speak with his lawyer and robert king, another member of the angola 3, but he was freed. king's conviction was overturned after he spent 29 years in solitary confinement. all of that and more coming up.
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, welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. protests continue in the st. louis area as a grand jury nears a decision in the police killing of unarmed teenager michael brown. the grand jury is set to reconvene today as it weighs whether to bring charges against officer darren wilson. this weekend saw rallies in ferguson and the neighboring community of shaw amid expectations of an imminent announcement. at least eight schools in the ferguson area have closed in anticipation. wilson has been in talks with ferguson officials on resigning from the police force even if he is not indicted. he has also met privately and off-the-record with a number of prominent news anchors to discuss a potential interview. the grand jury is made up of 12 people, three of them are african-american, five of them are quite. president obama addressed the pending grand jury decision in an interview this weekend with abc. obama urged demonstrators to
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remain peaceful. >> well, i think first and foremost, people protest peaceful. this is a country that allows everybody to express their views. any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law, contrary to who we are. i have asked eric holder not just to engage with the folks in ferguson, but to engage nationally in a conversation between law enforcement and communities of color that often times feel as if they're not being treated fairly by law enforcement officials. >> in a video statement on friday, attorney general eric holder unveiled new recommendations for law enforcement agencies on the handling of protests. >> the justice department encourages all in jurisdictions to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless
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convocation. of course i recognize that progress will not come easily. and long simmering tensions will not be cooled overnight. the struggles go to the heart of who we are and who we aspire to be, both as a nation and as a people. and it is clear we have a great deal of in porton work still to do. >> the fbi and other federal agencies have sent dozens of agents and officials to ferguson ahead of the grand jury's decision. on sunday, the st. louis county circuit court said there is no guarantee grand jury evidence in the case will be made public after a decision is reached. as ferguson waits to see if officer wilson will be charged, with the murder of mike brown, at least two more unarmed african-americans have been killed in police shootings nationwide. on saturday, 12-year old tamir rice was shot dead in a cleveland park. rice had been playing with a pellet gun. witnesses had called police warning he was waving it around, but at least one also stressed
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it was "probably fake." an officer ordered rice to put his hands up, but then shot him when he reached for the toy. rice's killing comes months after police in beavercreek, ohio, fatally shot 22-year-old john crawford after he picked up a toy gun inside a walmart. meanwhile in new york city, an unarmed african-american was shot dead by police in a brooklyn housing project thursday night. akai gurley was in the dimly-lit stairwell of the louis h. pink houses when he came across two officers. police say the shooting appears to have been accidental. and then he was "totally innocent." but protests are calling for the officer's arrest. on saturday, new york assemblyman-elect charles barron helped lead a march from the shooting scene to the police office for housing developments. >> this is an outrage. we are angry.
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there is no way -- no way a young man in a stairwell with two heavily armed police officers and he is unarmed should be dead. this is madness. it must stop. people are outraged. this is happening all over the country. they have no value for black life. i don't want to hear nothing about a dimly lit stairwell. i don't hear nothing about them being startled. this young man should still be alive today. >> the officer, peter liang, has been placed on modified duty pending the outcome of an investigation. akai and his girlfriend had decided to take the stairs because the elevator and a housing project was so slow. he leaves behind a two-year-old daughter. president obama has signed his historic executive order granting temporary legal status to over 4 million undocumented immigrants, protecting them from deportation. on friday, obama followed his action with a rally in las vegas, where he repeated his
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call for congressional action on comprehensive reform. >> las vegas, i have come back to tell you, i'm not giving up. i will never give up. i will never give up. [cheers] i will not give up. [chanting] so we are not giving up. we're going to keep on working with members of commerce to make permanent reform a reality, but until that day comes, there are actions that i have the legal authority to take that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just. and this morning, i began to
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take some of those actions. >> republicans have vowed to challenge obama's executive action when they take control of congress next year. potential methods include lawsuits, blocking judicial nominees, and using spending bills to defund implementation. in an interview sunday, president obama said his response to republicans is to pass a bill. president obama had to grilli extended the u.s. role in afghanistan despite earlier promises to wind down america's longest war. according to the new york times, obama signed a classified order that ensures american troops will have a direct role in fighting. in addition, the order reportedly enables american jets, bombers, and drones to bolster afghan troops on combat missions and under certain circumstances, authorize american airstrikes to support afghan military operations around the country. the decision contradicts obama's earlier announcement that the american military would have no combat role in afghanistan next year. meanwhile, at least 40 people
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are dead in eastern afghanistan after a suicide bomber attacked a volleyball match. according to the government of the province, at least 50 more were wounded at the tournament final. most of the casualties were civilians. we will have more on afghanistan after the headlines. iran and six world powers including the u.s. are expected , to miss a self-imposed deadline of today for reaching a nuclear deal in the latest round of talks. a long-term agreement would allow iranian uranium enrichment and relief from crippling u.s.-led sanctions in return for extensive international inspections. but the u.s. has already floated the idea of extending the talks with the two sides still far apart. key issues include the parameters for iran's enrichment program, the timetable for easing sanctions, and how long the deal would last. the extended talks are expected to resume next month in oman. dozens of people have been
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killed and attacked by the militant group boko haram in nigeria. the victims were residents of a northeastern fishing port and reportedly were shot on sight. meanwhile in kenya, at least 28 people were killed saturday when our shabbat militants attacked a bus. dozens of fighters have been killed in retaliatory operation. these really has approved a measure that would legally define israel as the state of the jewish people, not of its citizens. israel has always defined itself that way, but the bill would codify that into its basic laws. the full israeli parliament will vote on the law on wednesday. -- later this week. republican-led house panel has debunked republican a qs nations the obamagdoing by administration after the fatal 2012 attacks on the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi, libya. the report from the house intelligence committee follows
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five other reports also found the administration did not purposefully provide misleading information. the report comes six months after house speaker john boehner created a special panel the budget of $3.3 million to probe the benghazi attacks. democrats accuse them of mounting a witchhunt in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of hillary clinton am the presumed front-runner for the democratic nomination for president in 2016. she was secretary of state at the time of the benghazi a salt. the university of virginia has suspended its fraternities following an investigation in that revealed a pattern of sexual assault and impunity. the article focused on a student named jackie who was gang-raped at a fraternity during her first year at uva. after she reported the rape to the head of the school's sexual misconduct board, the administration took no action, not even to warn students of a potential risk.
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jackie later encountered two other women who said they were victims of gang rapes by the same fraternity. after the article went viral, rolling stone received what it called a "stunning" response from readers sharing their own stories of sexual assault at uva. the university of virginia. school president teresa sullivan called the article's revelations "appalling," and announced the fraternities would be suspended until the start of next semester -- a period of less than two months. dozens of people have been arrested near vancouver, canada, in a blockade against test drilling for an extended oil pipeline. protesters have camped out on burnaby mountain to stop the company kinder morgan's plans to expand its trans mountain pipeline, which brings tar sands oil from alberta to canada's west coast. protester tamo campos spoke out after his arrest. >> why are we putting our economic system, the market,
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above the very ecology we all depend upon? we are more dependent on clean water, fresh air, and clean soil than the market. it is something that keeps us alive. and we have to stand up to unjust laws, to make those the laws, because those are the laws that have always governed our lives. and indigenous people have a natural laws that predate colonial laws by thousands of years, and we need to respect that. >> campos is the grandson of the prominent canadian environmentalist, david suzuki. an 11-year old girl was also among those detained on sunday. hundreds of people rallied outside fort benning in georgia over the weekend for the annual protest calling for the closing of a controversial military training base. formerly known as the school of the americas, the western hemisphere institute for security cooperation has been used to train latin american soldiers in combat, counterinsurgency and counter-narcotics.
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on saturday, protesters also rallied miles away at the privately-owned stewart detention center in lumpkin, one of the nation's largest prisons for undocumented immigrants. at least five people were arrested. protesters included courtney collins, a youth activist from new jersey. tell all myhad a teachers before we left, i wasn't going to be in school for the next two days. when i asked why i was going on at georgia, i said i was going and when asked what it was, i explained it as a school with a people from third world countries and train them democracy, but a really teaching them how to torture people and send them back down and their major contributors in genocide and just awful, awful situations. >> an ohio man has been freed from prison after spending 39 years behind bars for a crime he
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didn't commit. ricky jackson, a 59-year old african-american man, had been jailed since 1975 on a murder conviction. the prosecution's case was based on the testimony of a 13-year-old witness. after a 2011 investigation, the witness recanted his testimony, saying he had implicated jackson and two others under police coercion. the witness, eddy vernon, said police had fed him the story and threatened him with the arrest of his parents if he didn't cooperate. on friday, ricky jackson was freed after prosecutors dropped the case. >> how does it feel? describe.an just glad to be a free man. >> what are you going to do and where you going to go? >> you sit in prison for so long and you think about this day, when it actually comes, you don't know.
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you don't know what you been doing besides what you been doing for 39 years. >> when you heard the judge say an hour ago you are a free man, talk about what you are feeling, what was going on at we could not the. >> it was like an emotional roller coaster. language doesn't fit what i feeling right now. i am on an emotional high right now. >> with nearly four decades wrongfully behind bars, jackson is the longest-held u.s. prisoner to be exonerated. another defendant who served slightly less time, wiley bridgeman, has also been released. and former washington, d.c. mayor marion barry has died at the age of 78. barry served four terms as d.c. mayor, making a notorious 1994 comeback after being jailed for smoking crack cocaine. and an fbi sting. though known for substance abuse problems and allegations of cronyism, barry was celebrated as a brave organizer during the civil rights movement and as the nation's first african-american
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activist mayor. washington, d.c. mayor-elect muriel bowser paid tribute on sunday. mayor marionss barry. he is been an inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people and a champion for the people of ward 8. mr. barry, i can say this, lived up until the minute the way he wanted to live. and he has left a strong legacy for so many young people to follow. >> president obama also honored barry's life and legacy, saying in a statement -- "as a leader with the student nonviolent coordinating committee, marion helped advance the cause of civil rights for all. during his decades in elected office in d.c., he put in place historic programs to lift working people out of poverty." those the words of president obama about the late marian barry. and those are some of the
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headlines, this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has secretly extended the u.s. role in afghanistan despite earlier promises to wind down america's longest war. according to the "new york times," obama quietly signed a classified order that ensures american troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year. the order reportedly enables american jets, bombers and drones to bolster afghan troops on combat missions. and under certain circumstances it would apparently authorize , american air-strikes to support afghan military operations throughout the country. the decision contradicts obama's earlier announcement that u.s. military would have no combat role in afghanistan next year. this is obama speaking at the white house rose garden in may. >> america's combat mission will be over the end of this year. starting next year, afghans will be fully responsible for
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securing their country. anrican personnel will be in advisory role. we will no longer patrol afghan cities or towns, mountains or valleys. that is a task for the afghan people. second, i've made it clear that we are open to cooperating with afghans on two narrow missions after 2014. training afghan forces and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al qaeda. u.s.der the new order, troops will be authorized to attack not just al qaeda, but the taliban, the haqqani network and other militants in afghanistan if needed. after a lengthy and heated debate within the white house. top generals at the pentagon and afghanistan reportedly backed the expanded mission. afghanistan's new president has also backed an expanded u.s.
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militant role. he took office in september. he is also reportedly listed limits on u.s. airstrikes in joint rates that his predecessor karzai have put in place. meanwhile, at least 40 people are dead in eastern afghanistan after a suicide bomber attacked a volleyball match. according to the government of the province, at least 50 more were wounded at the tournament final. most of the casualties were civilians. in a moment, we will be joined by two guests, we will be joined from afghanistan by dr. hakim, a medical dr. who has provided humanitarian relief in afghanistan for the last decade. and we will be joined by kathy kelly, a well-known peace activist, co-coordinator of voices for creative nonviolence. we will go to break and then we will be joined by both of them in chicago and couple, afghanistan. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. to talk about president obama's secret order to extend the war in afghanistan, we're joined by two guests. dr. hakim, a medical doctor who has provided humanitarian relief in afghanistan for the last decade. he works with afghan peace volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. dr. hakim is the 2012 recipient of the international pfeffer peace prize. and in chicago, we're joined by kathy kelly, co-coordinator of voices for creative nonviolence, a campaign to end u.s. military and economic warfare. her recent article is called, "obama extends war in afghanistan: the implications for u.s. democracy aren't reassuring." we begin with dr. hakim who asked us not to show his face. why don't you want people to see
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your face, dr. hakim? will, security and afghanistan has been deteriorating over the past few the ongoing face of u.s. military strategy and for reasons [indiscernible] >> so your concerns about the secret order that was just revealed in "the new york times" that president obama has signed on to, what has been the effect of the u.s. war in afghanistan and what do you think about this latest development? i think it is good to look at some of the data bases that are available in the states itself,
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global terrorism database done by the u.s. government and the university of maryland has shown that since the beginning of the war against terror in 2001, the number of terrorist attacks in afghanistan and the rest of the world in iraq, etc., has increased. so if we looked at the grass -- and the war against terrorism as a cancer that needs to be treated -- as a medical doctor, i would say the graph shows that the war against terror in afghanistan -- [no audio] 's we have just lost dr. hakim voice. kabul.peaking to us from
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he is not showing his face out of concern for his safety. kathy kelly, you're just back from kabul. talk about your response to this latest news. we just played the clip of president obama in may saying the troops would be pulling out, and now the secret order. >> thank you, amy. wanted toobably hakim continue by saying the war on terror has been a failure. and i think the u.s. public knows that. we learned about heated debate between the advisors to president obama, but it what point does the court of public opinion consulted in any way? the news released on a friday night, and was a big it was disclosed to "the new york times," but apparently the decision was made weeks before. is it possible because the obama administration knows how popular this war is? this cnn poll released in 2013 said 82% of the u.s. public
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disapproved of continued war in afghanistan. so in spite of the threat the war was going to and, we now find out that the war is going to continue. in the saturday issue of "the new york times," we have learned quietly the new administration in kabul under president ghani has decided to resume the night rates. they want to call them night operations instead of night raids. this is a tactic that doesn't require big military bases, but joint special operations forces, , the capacity to use helicopters. and this is what the united states is now promising. the night raids are despised tactic will stop i think it is import for people in the united states, just to imagine people break into your home while helicopters are hovering overhead and suddenly the women in the household are locked up and the men are subjected to
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brutality from it may be a crossfire does break out, maybe there are taliban people that are going to attack while the forces are there and siblings are killed, and you can't get them to the hospital. in this or nightmare is taking place. your home is being torn apart. some people are going to be taken away and disappeared for months and months under interrogation impossible torture. of course, nobody would want this in the country. it is sure to exacerbate the war. i think we have your audio back. i expect it will go in and out as we speak to you in kabul. ghani haspresident called for this extension, apparently. ?hat is your response to him well, the news reports in 54, 56 days past
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since president ghani's inauguration has shown there have been about 41 attacks across the country and 24 of those in kabul. ghani isk president caught in the same military banderas the entire u.s. -- madness the entire u.s. and nato coalition is caught up in. i tried to say earlier when my voice was lost, a global terrorism database by the u.s. government and the university of maryland showed that the number of terrorist attacks in afghanistan and across the world have increased since the war against terror began in 2001. so as a medical she military and
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person -- humanitarian person, i would say the world strategy in treating terrorism has failed. and sot to re-examine does president ghani. >> and the effects on the ground, dr. hakim, of this war. when we were trying to communicate with you by e-mail, you said, sorry, today is a no electricity day in my house. explain the conditions on the ground. >> [laughter] i think it would be good to give listeners a sense of what is ,appening in this country preceded by four decades of war and continued military strategy. by looking at what the world health organization announced in
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[indiscernible] afghans on the ground the daily living are not coping. in this year, up to september, there have been more than 4000 afghans, both men and women, who have set themselves on fire. and another 4000 that have tried to poison themselves and kill themselves through poison. situation where the people have problems with the basic human needs of food and water, chronic malnutrition has owes been a problem, certainly not helped by war -- has always been a problem, certainly, not helped by war. the other basics that ought to be available for afghans -- health care, work.
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unemployment is officially at 36%. some figures by local labor organizations put it as high as 80%. you have hungry, angry people who are unemployed and are killing themselves. thise ground, we know that war against terror in has been failing from year to year. the number of civilian casualties reported -- >> we're just lost dr. hakim again. i think it is worth continually going back when we get him. kathy kelly, if you could continue his thought. concernsalong with the of civilian casualties and the mothers who weep and say, i can't feed my children, and the thousands of children that are on the streets as child laborers -- 6000 children in kabul alone
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-- i mean, amnesty international has reported the war was displacing 400 people every day. there are squalid, richard refugee camps people are facing with a very cold winter. $58.3ntagon has requested billion for fiscal year 2015 alone. these resources go to the hands of war profiteers and weapons makers and enormous expenditures by the pentagon. i just read about november 23 request and the pentagon for $7,800,000 to beef up the condo har airports.da the suffering this causes are people afghanistan is lost on the was public. there was an august report that detailed 10 case studies that
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are just gruesome and chilling, horrific, telling about the situations of civilians who have been killed by united states forces. of course, this should be entered into the u.s. media. it should be something the u.s. people are talking about, and not a war that gets continued because of skirted movements on a friday night. >> kathy, i want to ask about a nine ounces of corporate tv news that found there's a list no debate about whether the united states -- in this case it was go to war in iraq and syria, but i think you could certainly extend that to afghanistan. the group fairness and i grew see found of the more than 200 guess that appeared on network shows to discuss the topics, just six forced opposition to military action. on the high-profile sunday talk shows, out of 89 guests, there .as just one antiwar voice i just want to go to a snippet
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of the clips of voices that appear in corporate media outlets. >> here's what i'm tired of hearing from this administration and my friends on the other side and within my party, that this is somehow easy and really not our fight. >> they have to act swiftly because the president made a good point. he believes he has the authority to do this on his own, and said why. >> so you're talking about a massive response? >> when an american is murdered on television for the purpose of terrorizing americans, there should be a response that you would not analyze in terms of a normal response to provocation. >> you can't imagine the fight against isis saying, you know what? this thing is on the cusp and we need to send in 5000 u.s. combat troops to win this thing? >> that would be saying
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specifically only 5000 -- >> know, it would be leaving the option open. >> i think the short in that a lot of people use about no boots on the ground is semantically problematic, because obviously, there would be american military personnel with their boots on the ground. >> that was jay carney, the former spokesperson for obama and before that the crystal and he needs -- henry kissinger and bob schieffer, the former governor of pennsylvania and lindsey graham, the was senator. just some of the voices. again, the overwhelming at shorty of voices on television, the range of the debate is boots on the ground are -- rarely come almost never do you hear someone say, do not attack. house, within the white the debate went on according to "the new york times" and his late revelation of a secret order signed by president obama to continue the war in
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afghanistan, there is a debate within the white house that sounds like much more than we hear on television. kathy, your been going back and forth to iraq and afghanistan. i'm sure it is well over 100 times. your thoughts on what this public debate would mean and what that sounds like an afghanistan? we will ask dr. hakim that question. >> is in it amazing in spite of such a [indiscernible] maintained by the military and the very cooperative media, you get these huge [indiscernible] who nevertheless don't want to see the wars continue. 94% of the u.s. public reportedly knew about the beheadings of men whose names i know by heart, and a was living in afghanistan with nearly in electricity or news coverage but i knew steven sotloff and david haines and james foley had been killed.
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the people in the united states don't know their names or the circumstancesere torn apart by e attacks. they will never, ever know the names of the half-million who werein iraq starved to death because of economic sanctions. we need to be literate and those realities as well in the conditions endured by people who can't escape our wars. and not to be made aware of that, is dangerous for the security people in the united states. because other people in other parts of the world are enraged, and they don't want to continue subjecting themselves to the united states military. >> kathy, how many times have you been in iraq and afghanistan? iraq 27 i travel to times during the period of economic sections.
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we were not looking to call attention to ourselves. we just wanted them to go inside hospitals and be with mothers and children who would never emerge with a healthy baby leaving the hospital. i guess i've been to afghanistan about 16 times. sometimes that was because you could only get a one-month visa, so i would go out and go back in. but i been so fortunate to live with afghan peace volunteers and with hakim who study guns in translation is always available to us. and some very fine people from other parts of the world. and by being with them, you get an entirely different perspective on the effects of the war, the realities of poverty displacement, and also your living with him people who themselves have lost immediate members of their family, who themselves have spent time in refugee camps, yet there they are like young social workers standing out trying to find who
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are the neediest people for distribution of [indiscernible] >> kathy, you have been nominated for nobel peace prize several times. you have into iraq and afghanistan scores of times. how many times have you been invited on the high-profile sunday talk shows on television? >> zero. for want to go to dr. hakim a moment, as you described working with them in afghanistan. dr. hakim, what is the alternative to war in your country? well, i think that young people everywhere, not just young afghans, have got to wake build those and viable alternatives to war, which means ban wars and weapons within their homes, community,
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religious workplaces, farms, restaurants, shop houses. and there are places in afghanistan in the midst of this war that have banned wars, like emergency hospital and the nonviolent center. that is one thing that we can do practically. there are many other related issues the young people [indiscernible] they can refrain from using fossil fuel energy. because a lot of the wars in the middle east and is part of the world is really a war over resources like. fuels, gas and oil. if we do our daily part, that would help. of learning, people have got to realize that the
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lack of debate we have just talked about shows that we are learning the wrong things. andnly hear the war military narrative. we need to be more curious, imaginative. we need to learn ways in which , not getrve humanity the profit. there many other practical things that people can do a daily basis, both in kabul in afghanistan, and the rest of the world. i would like to encourage everybody to do it. i've seem peace volunteers, despite the careful -- difficulty, so can american youth. >> i'm looking at a piece from common dreams that is responding to the piece in the times that made it clear what president obama did, quoting him in the rose garden, saying american personnel will be in an advisory
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role after this year, we will no longer patrol afghan cities, towns, mountains, or valleys. that is a task for the afghan people. that he said in may. and then, dreams staff rights, never mind, the president has no courtly authorized expanded role for the u.s. military in afghanistan. the new york times reported last night that obama's decision as a result of a link the and heated debate between the promised mr. obama made to in the war in afghanistan versus the demand the pentagon. the pentagon won. an official told the paper the military pretty much got what it wanted. obama has also given the war in afghanistan a new name, operation resolute support. dr. hakim, your response to operation resolute support? called, before this was operation enduring freedom, and the change of name doesn't
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change the basic dominant strategy, which is kill, kill, kill. that hasn't been a change in the strategy. there hasn't been any other options. this decision to expand the mission here is not even a new decision. in 2009, there is another decision that obama had to make and that was whether to increase the number of troops by 30,000 american soldiers. and in the account by bob woodworth in the book "obama's wars," bob woodworth described how that process happen by obama in the white house. obama had to tell his war cabinet, had asked them, why is there no other option? there was only one option, and that is the military option.
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so resolute support is just a rehash of the same military option, the same war against terrorism which has failed. so it is going to fail. >> i want to thank you both for ,eing with us, dr. hakim medical dr. who has provided humanitarian relief in afghanistan for the last decade. he works with afghan peace volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. in 2012, he won the international pfeffer peace prize. and in chicago kathy kelly is , co-coordinator of voices for creative nonviolence, a campaign to end u.s. military and economic warfare. she just returned from kabul, , i look forward to seeing her face one day without fear. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. -- that name may
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not be familiar to you, but yet another court in louisiana has said he should be freed. how is it that he has remained in solitary confinement for 42 years? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we turn now to new developments in a case democracy now! has been following for years. a federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling ordering louisiana to release albert woodfox, a former black panther who has spent more than
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40 years in solitary confinement, longer than any prisoner in the united states. in an editorial over the weekend, the "new york times" referred to his confinement as "barbaric beyond measure." woodfox and the late herman wallace, another prisoner of the angola 3, were convicted of murdering a guard at angola prison. the angola 3 and their supporters say they were framed for their political activism. a federal judge ruled last year that albert woodfox should be set free on the basis of racial discrimination in his retrial. it was the third time woodfox's conviction has been overturned, but prosecutors have negated the victories with a series of appeals. thursday's ruling by the 5th circuit court of appeals upheld the order for woodfox's release in a unanimous three-to-nothing decision. but prosecutors could still delay its enforcement with more appeals to keep woodfox behind bars. in 2010, the documentary "in the land of the free" featured
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albert woodfox speaking on a phone in prison. looks robert woodfox in his own words. to talk more about these develop the last incarcerated member of the angola 3, we're joined by two guests. in austin, texas, robert king is with us, a member of the angola 3. he spent 29 years in solitary confinement for a murder he did not commit. he was released in 2001 after his conviction was overturned. we're also joined in new york by carine williams is a lawyer for albert woodfox, and an attorney with the new york firm squire patton boggs. welcome to democracy now! carine williams, you are without
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part when word came down from the court on thursday? >> yes. the decision came down about three minutes before my flight landed. reach george kendall, another attorney on the case, and confirm that in fact the ruling in the district court had been affirmed by the fifth circuit, but then stopped at a hotel to print the case to bring to albert and went as fast as i could to the prison, mindful of all of the speed traps on the road. >> what did albert say? >> at first there were not whole of words. we both just broke out in huge smiles. this has been a long, long time coming. it is something will expected because the law was on our side and the facts were on our side, but it has been such a long road that we just had to take a moment to savor it. >> please, take us on that road.
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explain how it is that albert woodfox has bn inolity nfinent longer than any prisoner in the united states -- 42 years. court after court says he should be free. >> the really is no explanation for it. it is just a matter of metallic tory barbarism -- retalix revivalism. originally much a prison on an armed robbery charge. while in prison, he was convicted of killing a corrections officer. during the investigation of that killing, he was put into solitary confinement. he never has been released from solitary confinement. there had been two intervening in 1998, he was held in a parish facility for three years in the general population. at that point, no incident whatsoever. once the conviction was gone for the second time, he was put back
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into solitary confinement. in 2008, he was put into a dorm for about eight to nine months. when we got release on his ineffective counsel claim we sought bail in what we believe was a retaliatory move, they moved him back into solitary for no legitimate reason. >> explain the case within the prison, when he was brought up on charges of murder -- attempted murder of a guard. >> in 1972, i think for little context, conditions at angola were atrocious. there was in an ordnance amount of violence between -- among inmates, guards. , who passederman away after having his conviction overturned, began organizing inmates as members of the black panther party and the primary
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goal in organizing inmates is to protect others from prison rape. that earned them the ire of administration that was itself under a big change. they had been order to integrate their prison administration, so there were some antagonisms and frictions among therison officials and guards. and then when this terrible murder happened, i mean it is truly a tragic crime, they were automatically immediately fingered as the culprits without any evidence whatsoever. and a number of people who are affiliated with a black panther chapter in prison were put into solitary confinement. saiden the guards wife has they should be freed, even when herman was alive, she did not beeve they were responsible for the guard's death. >> that's right. ,> let me play teenie verret
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the wi of the guard, the widow of the murdered prison gua. she was just 17 wh her husband was stabbed to death in 1972. >> i have been living this for 36 years. there is not year that goes by that i don't have to relive this. it just keeps going and going. mean, if they-- i did not do this, and i believe they didn't, they have been living a nightmare for 36 years. quirks that was teenie verret, the widow of the guard. >> this case, if you look at it, the state's case has always been weak. they could not get that conviction without violating the constitution safeguards of a fair trial. they had a second chance in 1998. again, could not get a fair conviction against him. >> we're joined by robert king
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in austin, member of the angola 3 who themselves and 29 years in solitary confinement for a murder he did not convict, released in after his conviction 2001 was overturned. he's written a book about his experience called, "from the bottom of the heap: the autobiography of black panther robert hillary king." robert, is great to have you back on democracy now! can you respond to the court's decision get again on thursday for albert woodfox to be released? >> yes, thank you, amy, it is good to be here again. yes, i can only reiterate what carine has said and alluded to. i was overjoyed. i talk to him yesterday. we're thinking this decision here gives -- gets him closer to his freedom. carine,s alluded to by this case was weak from jump street and has been overturned many times.
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based not just on procedural defaults -- am sure the court had other things in mind. it was overturned on procedural default. take this as a green light to continue this atrocious prosecution of albert woodfox, and we're thinking that it is high time the state let it go. there is nothing else that can be done. albert has proven time and time again that he is actually innocent of this crime. all the evidence shows he was innocent of this crime, that he should not have even been charged with this crime. >> so the question is, what happens now? exactly --uled that what? >> the court ruled the conviction is a bad conviction and that he asked to be released
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or re-tried. so the ball in terms of what in the now is in effec state's court again. that a few options. they can appeal, seek a rehearing of this panel. or they can appeal to the supreme court. they could also decide that enough is enough, that mr. woodfox has served 40 hard years in louisiana prison and this is no longer a wise use of the state's resources. onrobert king, we had you talking about herman wallace who prayed you could be free to die as a free man, and he was taken out at the prison at the last minute as he lay dying. the judge ordering his release, demanding the warden release him were perhaps be imprisoned himself -- or perhaps be
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imprisoned himself. he was taken out on a gurney and died a free man. you and albert woodfox -- albert woodfox in chains -- were brought to say goodbye to herman wallace. is that right? >> yes. in fact, we were allowed to visit herman on the day, as carine pointed out, she was there and told him his conviction had been overturned. andrt and i were there wanted to let herman no that the case of an over -- herman know that the case of an overturned. not only that it of been overturned, but he would be released that same day from prison. i think he recognized -- herman died in convicted -- unconvicted. kissed him onfox
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the four head. this is his own words from the of0 documentary "the words albert woodfox in the land of the free." >> that was albert woodfox, and that is where we will have to leave it until we speak to him live on democracy now! i want to thank robert king, a member of the angola 3. we will continue our conversation in posted online at democracynow.org. carine williams, lawyer for albert woodfox, an attorney with the firm squire patton boggs.
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thank you so much for joining us. us. democracy now! is lo
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